Interview with Quiet Riot Bassist Chuck Wright By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Posted by NinaBRR on October 04 2020 08:02:42

Wright Side of the Track

Interview with Quiet Riot Bassist Chuck Wright

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio



The talented and respected Chuck Wright has had a "who's on bass?" twist and turn of a career as he came onto the national scene in 1984.  Within a five year period he appeared in video rotation on MTV with three different musical acts.  As bassist for the band Giuffria, the group had a single, “Call to the Heart.” reach 15 in the Billboard Top 100.  Simultaneously his work on the Quiet Riot single "Metal Health" silently placed him at 31 that year.  Then a member of Giuffria, the band toured opening for Deep Purple but his official MTV video appearances with Quiet Riot began with the QRIII promotional campaign in 1986.  A much longer story with his QR origins that would be another article all to itself regarding the California rockers!  A later reunion followed with ex-Angel keyboardist Gregg Giuffria of House of Lords in 1988.   Other studio and live gigs including work with Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Gregg Allman, and Impellitteri had kept Chuck "on tracks" for more seasons.  A 2004 return with Frankie Banali and Kevin Dubrow (also Alex Grossi and a plethora of replacement vocalists) with a few more adventures in between has kept Chuck busy as an in demand musician who maintains a sense of humor and a high level of professionalism taking it all in stride.  With the blessing of the late great Frankie Banali, Chuck will continue his tenure with the band.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Mr. Wright for this exclusive Boston Rock Radio interview.



September marked the 10 year anniversary of the revamped Quiet Riot as yourself along with the late Frankie Banali and Alex Grossi having been the constant with a variety of singers.  This has been a colorful gig for you as documented in the Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back film.  I really love you taking one of the singers out wardrobe shopping and sharing what you learned from Gene Simmons.

If you mean revamped by us continuing on after Kevin Dubrow’s passing in 2007, indeed it has been 10 years. Kevin, Frankie, Alex, and I started the band back up in 2004. Kevin had Alex out with him on some solo gigs. He was a young lad coming into the fold back then.  He has become like my little brother. We have been through so much together, not only with Quiet Riot but others like Adler’s Appetite, Love/Hate, Jani Lane, and Dizzy Reed as their band members. As you might know, I’ve been a part of Quiet Riot’s history off and on since 1981. I did all the demos, played the clubs, got the band signed, and played bass on “Bang Your Head” and “Don't Wanna Let You Go” and did all the background vocals with them on Metal Health before Rudy Sarzo rejoined just after Randy Rhodes’ passing. That was to be Randy’s last tour with Ozzy. As Kevin told it, Randy called him and said he had had it with the Osbourne’s, that after fulfilling his contract he was leaving. I often wonder how different my life would have been had Randy not been killed in that plane accident. I’m sure the band would not have been called Quiet Riot as that name only happened when Rudy rejoined. The record company president/ producer gave us two name choices, Standing Hampton or Wild Oscar. Upon hearing that name I said “Yea, right, so everyone's going to think Kevin is Oscar like which one’s Pink in Pink Floyd.”  As far as the last 10 years, colorful is an understatement.  I mean, we went through 6 lead singers. Yes, Kevin had some big shoes to fill vocally and as a personality. I have always felt that Jizzy Pearl, who is now back with us, was the best fit. He was suggested in the very beginning but Frankie didn't want a singer with so much baggage having been in Ratt, LA Guns, and Love/Hate.  He wanted a fresh face. Frankie called all the shots in the band when we regrouped. He was my friend of 39 years but also my boss.  I suggested a singer I saw in a Sammy era Van Halen cover band. This guy had a great voice but really needed some input being a front man. We figured we had 3 months for him to get in shape, learn the songs, lyrics, and we could help with styling his wardrobe, so all should be great. Well, at our first rehearsal, after those 3 months, he showed up heavier, way out of shape and still didn't have the songs learned.  We forged on giving him every chance to rise to the occasion but he fell flat on his face, which is well documented in the movie. Our other singers, Scott Volkin and James Durbin left on their own accord.

Please tell us about the new Weight Of Silence, "Reimagined" release?

I’ve been nonstop writing and recording since mid-March, and I released my first ever solo song and video in May of 2020, “The Weight of Silence,” on which I played all the instruments and edited together. As we descended into the depths of isolation because of the pandemic, I decided to pick up my acoustic guitar (something I haven’t done in eons) to just create music from what I had been feeling about this crisis thrust into our lives. I had no agenda, just drawing from this feeling. I then edited together some footage of my performance on the various instruments merged with an apocalyptic vision of cityscapes, as streets lie silent, the unsetting beauty of the lockdown, which felt like pure science fictionThe video was really well received by listeners and the music community. I got a call from Troy Luccketta who drums with Tesla, and a distinguished Jazz/Fusion guitarist I know, Allen Hinds. He’s best known for working with Gino Vannelli, Natalie Cole, and James Ingram among others. Both wanted to play on my song. I was blown away and honored. I heard keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Sons of Apollo, Dream Theater) dug the track, so I asked him if he’d be interested in helping add keyboards to a newly reimagined version of the song. Once Troy, Allen, and Derek came on board for the re-recording, I called Ben Woods, an acclaimed Flamenco guitarist to reinforce my guitar parts.  This new "Reimagined" version of the video still depicts the feeling of isolation in an apocalyptic world. Stark images of an empty train journeying to empty cities creates a storyline intercutting myself, Troy, and Allen’s performance footage.  Here’s a link to the “Reimagined” version of “Weight Of Silence”:


Weight Of Silence "Reimagined" (feat. C. Wright, T. Luccketta, A. Hinds, D. Sherinian & B. Woods)


Musically speaking, what was your favorite part of being 1/2 of a rhythm section with the late great Frankie Banali for all of those years?   

Let’s go back to the beginning. The band DuBrow, which later became the Quiet Riot - Metal Health era band - had a great guitar player (Bob Stefan) that was also in my prog band Satyr. (We were the first band in history to use lasers and we packed wherever we played 1978 to around 1982.) Bob suggested me for DuBrow when Rudy left to play with Ozzy and Randy. Kevin resisted by saying that I was too Prog for them, but Bob said to him, “No, Chuck digs bands like Humble Pie and Queen”.  So with that, I got an audition and the gig. Some months later, Bob had a temper tantrum at a Whisky A Go Go gig and Kevin fired him. I suggested Carlos Cavazo from the band Snow, and we got together with the band’s producer, Spencer Proffer, and checked him out. It was all the thumbs up. Frankie really taught me how to play back in the pocket, which is opposite of Prog playing, which tends to be more on top of the beat. I’ll never forget whenever Frankie felt I was rushing, he’d throw a drumstick at me. I quickly learned to lay back. Once I settled into playing with Frankie, we started having a serious psychic connection. I mean, he could throw anything at me and I'd be right there with him. That continued throughout our many years of playing together.  Not trying to toot our own horn, but I believe we were the best Hard Rock rhythm section of the 80’s era. Listen to the pocket on Bang Your Head - that’s how you groove.  He will be greatly missed.  He was a very unique and special human being.

I always find it ironic that non-classic lineup members (hired guns) get "slagged" in press and on social media when the reality is that if Tommy Thayer or Phil X were to leave their gigs an ocean of musicians would be lining up to audition.  Any comments from you about professional jealousy in the rock and metal world?

Both Tommy and Phil have been friends of mine for years. I’m very happy for them both. Those kinds of gigs with iconic artists are few and far between. To your question, I have always had to fight for my place in Quiet Riot when in fact I was a part of the classic line up (recordings) as I stated earlier. I officially joined the band in 1987. I’m on more Quiet Riot albums than anyone except Frankie, nevertheless, in my view, it’s about the music, the brand and not the band really. We’ve proven that time and time again playing for thousands of people without the entire classic line up and getting encores.  People want to hear those songs done properly. I have noticed that guys slagging others at a place like are always wannabe, failed musicians. I don't really see that among my peers. Guys like Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum called me with condolences after Frankie’s passing saying, Ya gotta keep it going Chuck”.  I’ve heard that from all of my peers.  

You have been the force behind the Ultimate Jam Night at Hollywood's Whiskey A Go Go for quite some time.  You wield your bass on stage and emcee along with many legendary hard rock and metal jamming some great tunes.  Please tell Boston Rock Radio about your role and the "behind the scenes" chores that keep you busy with UJN when not being put on hold by Covid.

For those of you that don't know about Ultimate Jam Night, it’s an immersive Rock ‘N Roll show held weekly in Hollywood, California at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go on Tuesday nights, streaming live on RYouLive. We were into our 5th year of a weekly residency, and then sadly, we had to shut down due to the pandemic.  The event integrates some of the world’s greatest musicians into a 3-hour live performance of unrehearsed cover tunes from a wide-range of popular music.  When I first started the event, I was doing most of the organizing of around 35 or so guest musicians. I call it “herding cats.”  My first house band featured Gilby Clarke (Guns-n-Roses) and Matt Starr (Ace Frehley). Gilby left to tour as UJN started to explode as I was bringing more and more musicians out to join us. Mitch Perry (MSG, Edgar Winter Group) came on to replace him and has been with us ever since. We needed a bigger boat, so we moved to the world-famous Whisky A Go Go in 2016. The show has grown to having between 50 to 100 musicians a show. Paulie Z., front man from legendary “Glam” band The Sweet, hosts the show with RYouLive broadcast hostess, Jes Fama. My house drummer the past few years, Joe Travers, (Satriani/Zappa Does Zappa) is arguably the best in town and Walter Ino (Survivor and Eagles Of Death Metal) is my house keyboard and second guitar player. We do theme nights each week. We’ll often do a full night of a band like Led Zeppelin to Dave Grohl. We also do themes like “Pop Goes Rock” where we heavy up Pop tunes, Mustache night where we do songs from the 70’s bands and yes, everyone wears a mustache. We did “Rocky Horror Picture Show” twice, top to bottom fully costumed, “Spinal Tap Night” which stands out to me since we had 27 Bass players all at the same time on “Big Bottom” breaking Spinal Taps record. We’ve done orchestra nights, fitting a small orchestra on the stage doing songs like “Live and Let Die” and “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s opera.  We will also do charity events like our Aussie Night, raising money for a wildlife fire rescue in Australia. We’ve been at NAMM at the Hilton Ballroom the past 3 years.  Since so many players come into town for NAMM, our shows there are always over the top. We reunited David Lee Roth’s “Eat Em’ and Smile” band with Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, Gregg Bissonette, Brett Tuggle, and had Jeff Scott Soto singing. We put together guys like Dug Pinnick (King’s X), George Lynch, and Mike Portnoy, full bands like Winery Dogs and Jack Russell’s Great White also played… on and on. Throughout the years we’ve had well over 2,000 performers including names like Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Bill Ward (Black Sabbath), Mikkey Dee and Phil Campell (Motorhead), Steven Adler (Guns N Roses), Jason Bonham, Don Dokken (Dokken), Bruce Kulick (Kiss/Grand Funk Railroad), Colin Hay (Men At Work), Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge/Rod Stewart), Carmine Rojas (David Bowie/Rod Stewart)… I could go on and on. It's a blast for me as well getting to put unique combinations of musicians together and also plugging myself in with some of them, but it takes a dedicated team to make this all happen, which I oversee. It's a free show, so it’s really been a labor of love and something the L.A. music community really needed. DJ’s were taking over.  You can check out more at and at I also designed the logo and do quite a lot of the show posters you can see on the website.

Unfortunately, producer and guitarist Bob Kulick passed away.  You were a part of his short lived Blackthorne project.  Any memories to share about the talented musician?

I was also on Bob’s Murderers Row album with my good friend and old Giuffria band mate David Glen Eisley.  We’d see each other most Sundays at our weekly softball games with Gilby Clarke, Ricky Phillips (Styx), Dave Amato (Reo), Pat Torpey (Mr. Big) and others you’d know. That’s kind of how that came about.  I’ve done a few of the tribute albums Bob produced. Hey, I’m playing bass on a song that Lemmy is singing on! Bob was a character. If you’ve ever seen Larry David’s show Curb Your Enthusiasm, that’s Bob.  I honestly didn't enjoy working with Bob as the producer in the studio. He had me play parts that I would never do as they were more a guitar player’s interpretation of what bass is.  Though, I do think Frankie and I had some great moments on that Blackthorne album. It was also cool to work with Graham Bonnet again. We did the first Impellitteri record together. He is such a force whenever he sings, I think his head is going to explode. I recently spoke on the phone with Bob.  We had a nice long conversation about working on something new with him. A couple weeks later, I heard he passed. It’s so tragic and sad.  2020 has been a very rough year all around.

Do you still employ that Jackson bass from the 1980's and if so please tell us about that?  

I retired what I refer to as my Dragon Bass (I designed the Dragon image on it) in 2002 when I joined Alice Cooper. Eric Singer, who was in the band as well as being in KISS, said “Soooo Chuck, you’re not going to be playing that hockey stick, are ya?”  I of course said, ”umm…. Not if you think that’s a bad idea and Alice will hate it.”  (Side note: Eric and I were in Montrose for a while, and we had a fun cover band.)  I had many fun years with that bass having toured the world with House Of Lords and Quiet Riot between 1987 and 1991.  It now hangs, framed in the billiard room.

Quiet Riot on Facebook

Chuck Wright on Facebook


Boston Rock Radio Music Journalist Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at